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Should Mobile Apps Be Used to Limit Follow-up Visits After Surgery?

According to the medical journal JAMA Surgery, a mobile app may reduce the need for in-person follow-up visits for patients who’ve undergone breast reconstructive surgery. This mobile app was the center of a recent study, and the results from the analysis showed a reduction in in-person follow-up visits without affecting complication rates or patient satisfaction ratings.

The study randomly assigned 65 women who were undergoing breast reconstruction at the University of Toronto’s Women’s College Hospital to have their follow-up appointment via an in-person visit or through the mobile app. The mobile app allowed patients to submit photos and questions that could be answered by their reconstructive surgeon. The surgeons who participated in the study would regularly submit post-operative reports for their patients through email.

According to the study, the patients using the mobile app attended “0.4 fewer” visits and did not report any signs of complications or dissatisfaction with this approach. While the mobile app in this study witnessed great success, it’s important to ask a simple follow-up question: “Should mobile apps even be used to limit follow-up visits after surgery?”

This is an important question to answer because while some instances may benefit from this technology, not all surgical cases will. In fact, surgeries that require multiple nights in the hospital or have an increased risk of complication would be wise not to get involved in this type of follow-up care. Moreover, the physicians at Specialty Surgical Center have always been a proponent of advancements in medicine and technology, but sometimes there is nothing better than the immediacy of seeing a physician in person.

Some surgeries are more routine than others, and many minimally invasive procedures that require very little anesthesia and are performed in an outpatient setting may benefit from this mobile app. From a cost-savings perspective, the use of a mobile app for follow-up visits would not only save the patient time and money, but the physician and his or her staff as well.

The bottom line: there’s no doubt technology is changing the landscape of medicine, but in some instances, this may not be a good thing. In others, however, it’s a very beneficial thing. The important thing to remember is whether or not the patient is being made a top priority – if tech like this can make that happen while saving time and cutting costs, then what’s the harm?

For the patients who are with us currently, do not fret – in-person follow-up visits will continue to be a major part of our company culture because they allow our team to provide as much care and expertise as possible. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your follow-up care, please do not hesitate to call our team!

Specialty Surgical Center is located in Sparta, New Jersey and our staff consists of board certified surgeons and anesthesiologists performing procedures in Orthopedics, Sports Medicine, Spinal Care, Podiatry, Urology, Pain Management, ENT, Hand Surgery, Lithotripsy, Brachytherapy, GYN and Laser Surgery.

For more information about Specialty Surgical Center, call 973-940-3166 or visit our Contact Page.

The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.